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Apple to end telco iPhone sales monopoly in Britland

You want SIM-free, unlocked Jesus mobes Mr Reseller? You got 'em

Nobody likes to be in the grip of a large, cold-hearted corporation that can abuse its dominance to dictate terms... just ask fanbois Apple.

It seems the world’s most-valued company has had enough of the sales monopoly the telcos milked from the iPhone franchise in Blighty and is at last taking action.

This month, Apple UK finally did for the local operations of Ingram Micro, Tech Data and newly appointed Westcoast, what it did for IT wholesalers on the continent years ago – it’s given them access to SIM free, unlocked Jesus mobes.

This won’t bother most Apple fanatics, who can walk into their face-to-face retail place of worship to buy the iPhone. But it will interest tech resellers that were forced to work with telcos, and it might just interest their customers too.

Of course, none of the distributors are able to talk about this – they work for Apple and can only comment in a fashion approved by the Dickensian Cookian empire.

In a statement, Westcoast confirmed it can sell the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and 5 to customers and claimed this highlights the integration between the IT and telco channels.

No mention was made of SIM-free, unlocked phones, but sadly for Apple it can’t gag every business it works through, and tech resellers confirmed this change to us.

Tech resellers in Blighty hadn’t previously got involved with iPhones, largely because they were forced to buy them with a SIM and network lock, under contract with one of the telcos – and they only got a nominal fee of around £10 in return for their efforts.

Back in late 2013, Apple hired Ingram Micro and Tech Data to flog SIM-free, unlocked versions on the continent, which helped to further reduce the market share of the telcos.

In the UK, that share is understood to be well in excess of 90 per cent, so Apple was truly reliant on the likes of Vodafone et al. Perhaps this will change, in the fullness of time.

We called various Apple people for comment. One said he couldn’t talk – “not at all, not at all” – and we’ve yet to hear back from the others in the PR team. ®

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